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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations: FAQ

What is a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)?

Commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—

  1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
  2. Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  3. Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  4. Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, sub-chapter C.

What is the difference between interstate and intrastate commerce?

Interstate commerce is trade, traffic or transportation involving the crossing of a State boundary. Either the vehicle, its passengers or cargo must cross a State boundary or there must be intent to cross a State boundary to be considered an interstate carrier. Intrastate commerce is trade, traffic or transportation within a single State.

What is an authorized for-hire carrier?

The definition of an "authorized for-hire" carrier is a person or company that provides transportation of cargo or passengers for compensation. If you are an authorized for-hire carrier, you will also need to obtain Operating Authority (MC Number).

What is a private carrier?

Private motor carrier means a person who provides transportation for property or passengers by commercial motor vehicle and is not a for-hire motor carrier.

What is an exempt for-hire motor carrier?

Exempt for-hire motor carrier means a person engaged in transportation exempt from economic regulation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under 49 U.S.C. 13506. "Exempt motor carriers" are subject to the safety regulations set forth in this sub-chapter.

When is a Medical Examiner's Certificate (Medical Card) required?

A Medical Examiner's Certificate is required for any driver operating a commercial vehicle with the GVWR or GCWR of 10,001 pounds or more.

When is a Record of Duty Status (log book) required?

All drivers are required to complete a Record of Duty Status (log book) if the vehicle meets the definition of a commercial vehicle. There are some exemptions to the rule depending on the size of the truck being used and air mile distance operated. See 395.1(e).

How do I obtain for-hire Operating Authority for Kentucky only?

Intrastate carriers must obtain Operating Authority through the Transportation Cabinet, Division of Motor Carriers. The form can be found online at www.dmc.kytc.ky.gov/forms .

The Kentucky Trucking Application Form TC 95-1 must be submitted by mail at:

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Department of Vehicle Regulation
The Division of Motor Carriers
PO Box 2007
Frankfort, KY 40602

What is the company's principle place of business?

Principal place of business means the single location designated by the motor carrier, normally its headquarters, for purposes of identification. The motor carrier must make records required by parts 382 , 387 , 390 , 391 , 395 , 396 , and 397 of this sub-chapter available for inspection at this location within 48 hours (Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays excluded) after a request has been made by a special agent or authorized representative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

What records are required to be on file at the principle place of business?

Driver Qualification File(s) (Part 391):

  • Job application
  • Previous employment inquiries, past 3 years
  • State driver's license check, past 3 years
  • Road test and certification document or equivalent
  • Annual Review of driving record, driver certification of violations and state license check
  • Copy of valid medical examiners certificate
  • Copy of valid operators license

Drug and Alcohol Documentation (Part 40/382): (Only required for CDL drivers)

  • Drug Policy
  • Pre-employment drug testing documents: Chain of custody forms and test results.
  • Documentation on random drug testing: Chain of custody forms and test results.
  • Name, address and phone number of the drug testing facility as well as documentation showing the testing rates for drug and alcohol.
  • Documentation showing which company officials has been through the drug and alcohol awareness training.

Insurance (Part 387):

  • If you are a for-hire carrier or are a private carrier hauling hazardous materials a copy of your MCS-90 insurance endorsement form.
  • If you are a passenger carrier, a copy of your MCS-90B insurance endorsement form.

DOT Truck Markings (Part 390.21):

  • Make sure each vehicle that has a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or a GCWR of 10,001 pounds or more is properly marked with the company DOT number and company name.

Vehicle (Part 393/396):

  • Maintenance files on every truck, truck tractor, and/or trailer which should include inspections, repair and maintenance records and schedule of maintenance.
  • Daily Vehicle Inspection Reports if applicable.

Annual Inspections (396.17):

  • All annual and roadside inspections.
  • Have the qualifications of the mechanic(s) and brake inspector(s) available.


  • Mileage from all vehicles with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds for the last twelve months.

Log Books/Timesheets (Part 395):

  • Timesheets or log books for each driver for the last six months. All supporting documentation which shall include but is not limited to the following: tow bills and receipts, hotel receipts, fuel receipts, bill of ladings, repair receipts and scale tickets.

Hazardous Materials (Parts 105 – 107, 110, 130, 171 - 178):

  • A copy of your hazardous materials registration if required.
  • Copies of bills of lading for hazardous materials trips.
  • Hazardous materials security plan
  • Hazardous materials training records for any employee that has contact with the load (driver, loader).


  • The gross revenue for the past twelve months.

Accident Register (Part 390.15):

  • Copy of all accident reports during the last thirty-six months if applicable.
  • Accident Register.